How You Can Stay Warm this Winter, Or Help Someone Stay Warm
Are you or someone you know worried about how you’re going to pay those home energy bills this winter? Energy Share of Montana is accepting applications for emergency heating assistance at Action for Eastern Montana in Glendive, which serves residents in the 17 eastern Montana counties. You can reach Action for Eastern Montana at 406-377-3564.
Energy Share is a private nonprofit organization that was established in 1983 to help Montanans who are facing financial difficulties that may result in loss of heat or lights in their home due to circumstances beyond their control. A local volunteer Energy Share Committee works with Action for Eastern Montana to review the applications. Energy Share helps people no matter what their heat source, but the assistance is usually only once every ten years or so because the organization is truly a source of emergency funds, intended to complement government assistance programs but not replace them.
Energy Share helps an average of about 2,500 families per year. The organizational structure is unique because the applications are reviewed individually, allowing people in need of help with their energy bills to explain the difficult circumstances they are facing. Situations that compel people to apply for help with their energy bills through Energy Share could include extreme medical issues, unemployment or reduced wages/hours, or a wide range of other issues that create financial difficulty.
The only way Energy Share can provide the individual attention it does to each application is through a cooperative effort. While all of Energy Share’s stakeholders are involved at some level, the nuts and bolts of Energy Share “happens” with the ten Human Resource Development Councils (HRDCs) and the volunteer Local Energy Share Committees that each HRDC coordinates. Committees across the state vary as dictated by the specific needs of the community. These Committee members donate many hours on behalf of the organizations they represent.
Supporting this entire organization is, of course, Energy Share’s donors. Individuals, small businesses, utility companies, electric cooperatives, propane vendors, and large electric users all provide the means by which the mission is accomplished. You will see a donation envelope or pledge card in your November utility bill or, if you’re a member of an electric cooperative, in the Rural Montana magazine. You can also donate online at Energy Share’s website, http://www.energysharemt.com or by mailing a check to Energy Share, PO Box 5959, Helena, MT 59604-5959. Donations are tax-deductible and 100% of private donations are used for bill assistance unless otherwise designated by the donor. Thanks to everyone involved for being such an integral part of Energy Share; we need each other and we could not do it without you. For more information please visit the website or call the statewide office at 1-888-779-7589.